What Makes


Big Waves is based in K’jipuktuk (Halifax) in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia), the ancestral, unceded territory of the M’ikmaq People. Settlers and the M’ikmaq have lived in this territory under the provisions of the Peace and Friendship Treaties since 1760 and 1772. We are all Treaty People and have responsibilities to each other and this land.

We bring three key lenses to all of our work.

Many of our goals are influenced by factors outside our control. Many of these are systemic (multiple interconnected parts), and we can have greater impact once we’re aware of them.

Integrating an analysis of power, challenging the ways that normative work processes and cultures reinforce social inequities.

People are not simply “thinking” beings. There is much more than our cognitive selves driving choices and reactions. Big Waves knows how to support people to not get stuck in their heads

Brook Thorndycraft, MA, B.Ed., Q.Med, SEP (she/they)


Brook Thorndycraft portrait3

To paraphrase Paolo Friere, Brook has made her path by walking it.

Born to activists, raised at rallies, she spent many years in community work and grassroots movement, with particular focus in prison and economic justice. They experienced many methods and frameworks intended to create lasting transformation, eventually adding graduate studies in community development to deepen her understanding of the complex human and systemic dynamics at work beneath daily life.

As a professor at George Brown College’s Community Worker Program, she helped students navigate the complexities of changemaking.

Today, Brook describes herself as a recovering activist, as her experiences of movement involved a pattern of relational dynamics that eventually became unsustainable. This led to her deep study and practice of conflict transformation, for which they are known today.

Over the years she has continued to encounter and adopt nodes of knowledge and practice that identify and address personal, interpersonal, and systemic patterns that get in the way of meaningful change. Some of these are Deep Democracy Process Work, Liberating Structures, conflict transformation, popular education and group process, systems theory, mindfulness, and Somatic Experiencing®. Embodied practice has changed her life, and they are evangelical about orienting to pleasure and feeling your feet.

She founded Big Waves in 2020 in order to realize a vision of the immense possibility inherent in working together.

They have many years’ experience in organizational change, conflict transformation, adult and experiential education, and relational leadership. Through coaching, trainings, facilitation, and custom processes, Brook supports organizations in areas such as: power, psychological safety, equity, feedback and communication, and conflict transformation.

She loves story and metaphor because of how they explain complex concepts and highlight shared experience, enabling people to feel connection and emotional resonance.

Brook hails from an Austrian Jewish, English and Scottish background and grew up in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. She is proudly queer. After living away from the ocean for what she found out was too many years, they were pulled to Halifax by her love of Joanne and also the ocean.

In certain company, they are inclined to describe the moments of her day in song. Her sweet dog Rexy has grown very talented at tempting her away from her precarious book piles and into nature.

Key certifications and trainings:

MA. Adult Education and Community Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
Qualified Mediator, accredited through Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada
Somatic Experiencing Practitioner certification, Somatic Experiencing International
Change Management Practitioner Certification, Prosci
Psychological Health and Safety Professional Certification, Canadian Mental Health Association
Advanced Workplace Restoration and Workplace Fairness Assessment, Workplace Fairness Institute
Deep Democracy Level 4, Lewis Deep Democracy
Diamond Power Index 360 Certification, Diamond Leadership
Community Economic Development Graduate Certificate, Concordia University

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Joanne Kerrigan, BPR (she)


Joanne has been at the heart of organizations in transformative moments for many years. Her roles have varied, encompassing strategic leadership, change management, organizational learning, communication and marketing, and as a member and leader of boards of directors. Work with Joanne to:

  • Design and set up an important project to (obviously) succeed, but more importantly, to be energizing, and enjoyable.
  • Bring new and different approaches to analysing confusing conditions in relationships or workflows: processes, decision-making, roles.
  • Refresh perspectives, outlooks, and energies in a group.

She has enjoyed many consulting engagements, including in public service business transformation for the Province of Nova Scotia, as well as planning and managing many projects and events for organizations in various sectors. She has guided learning in multiple environments, including post-secondary classroom and multi-week online professional cohorts.

In 2018 Joanne left consulting to join the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre as it underwent significant transformation, supporting change in multiple roles including Interim Executive Director. She went on to lead Women in Film and Television Atlantic through board renewal and organizational restructuring as their first Executive Director, before joining Big Waves as Co-Waver in 2024.

(Full disclosure: online search will reveal another whole life in time-based media. Ask if curious!)

Justice, inclusion and healing drive all of her engagement, reflection, and intention. Joanne is drawn to futures literacy, dynamic governance, adaptive planning, emergence, human systems dynamics, appreciative inquiry, relational systems thinking and awareness-based systems change.

Core sources of joy infusing all of her time, including work time, are mixing vinyl, being in nature with friends, her dog Rexy, and life partner Brook, and disappearing into divination with the I Ching and her tarot decks.

“There are so many wise, talented and wonderful people that groups can call on when support or collaboration is needed. What are the main reasons I’m contacted? The subject matter expertise and the particular areas of focus are part of it, but what’s especially cool is the feedback about “how” I work, rather than just what kind of work I do. The strategic focus and inquiry-driven curiosity. The toolsy resourcefulness (hat tip: patience). The always-on possibilities engine. I truly love this kind of feedback, because these are ways of working that I’ve intentionally cultivated.”

multi-party engagement  |  process analysis or design  | internal communication  |  strategic planning  |

decision making  |  project design  |  group roles and structures  |  events

Key certifications and trainings:

Agile Leadership: Introduction to Change | University of Colorado System
Analyzing Growth Drivers & Business Risks | Corporate Finance Institute® (CFI)
Bachelor of Public Relations | Mount Saint Vincent University
Cafe At The Edge of the World | Wolf Willow Institute for Systems Learning
Cynefin Decision-making Framework | Cynefin, Making Sense of Complexity
Foundations of Complexity: Strategy | Complexity University
Fundamentals of Bridging | Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley
Human-Centered Design for Inclusive Innovation | Institute for Gender and the Economy at Rotman School of Management
Organization Planning and Development for 6 σ | University System of Georgia
Planning for Uncertainty: How to Create an Agile Strategy | Inspiring Communities
Six Sigma Yellow Belt | Six Sigma Racial Equity Institute
Strategic and Operational Planning | IONS (Impact Organizations of Nova Scotia)
Systematic Inventive Thinking Innovations

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Solidarity Statement

Big Waves is committed to being in solidarity with organizations making change for a more socially, environmentally, and economically just society. This solidarity includes a commitment to contribute financially to nonprofit, charitable and grassroots organizations and groups that are doing the hard work to create a better world. As a part of this commitment, 2% of Big Waves’s annual net income will be donated to organizations doing this important work. At least 1% must go to charitable organizations. Groups will be prioritized based on their intersectional commitment to the following:

Environmental protection, climate change and environmental justice
Indigenous and Black cultural revitalization, sovereignty, and land rights
2SLGBTQ+ justice, safety, and wellbeing
Alternative economy, anti-poverty, housing, and/or prison justice

In recognition that Big Waves is located in unceded Mi’kmaw territory, that African Nova Scotians have lived here for 500 years, and that both groups’ relationships to land have been continuously interrupted by colonization, at least half of the total 2% will be donated to organizations that prioritize Mi’kmaw or African Nova Scotian sovereignty, cultural revitalization, and/or land reclamation. These donations will be offered in the spirit of paying “rent.”

While the majority of donations will go to organizations located in Nova Scotia, some may be given to organizations serving the Atlantic Provinces more generally, or occasionally to national organizations that are supporting important work in this region.